Photography: Mohd. Nasir
Mercedes-Benz India understands the Indian market, the more its products are
getting so right and so perfect. The Mercedes-Benz CLA 200 is one such example.
The latest from the German luxury car manufacturer, the CLA 200 comes with both
petrol as well as a diesel engine. The
models for sale include the CLA 200 CDI Style, the CLA 200 Sport and the CLA
200 CDI Sport. While the petrol one comes with a 1991 cc inline engine, the
diesel one comes with a 2143 cc inline engine.
We got a
petrol car for a short spin and we were truly stunned by its sheer looks,
besides its performance. Gone are the days when a Mercedes-Benz brand used to
intimidate the general public, both with its size as well as its price. Now
with rising incomes among Indians and more affordable cars from the Mercedes
stable, people with decent money are buying the Mercs like never before. And
the company is making it easier for these folks as they make cars at the right
prices, in the right sizes and with the right looks.
The CLA 200 is
CLAssy. It’s as simple as that. There is something about its shape that gets
you all weak kneed. I mean it’s so aerodynamic and so shapely. The company
claims that this shape gives the car the lowest drag coefficient of any
production car. I believe very word of it because when I got a chance to drive
it full throttle on a long stretch of road, it cut through the air like a Swiss
knife on soft butter. Oops, like a German knife…
Like the A
class, the CLA has got the beautiful diamond radiator grille with pins in
high-gloss black, silver-painted louvre and chrome inserts. That makes it great
looking from the front. The bi-xenon headlights add to the mesmerising looks.
The sides too look beautiful with the swooping lines with the rear shaping up
like an elegant coupe. The rear bumper with insert in black plastic with chrome
trim and the twin-pipe exhaust system with rectangular, chromed tailpipes that
peep out from under the bumper makes the derriere
Take a top
angle view and there is the panoramic sliding sunroof with automatic rain
closing feature. Every which way you look, the CLA 200 simply inspires. The
43.2 cm (R17) 5-spoke alloy wheels painted in tremolite grey simply adds to the
class. Now you get it when I say it’s a CLAssy sedan.
Just when you
finish admiring the vehicle from outside, you are pleasantly surprised by what
you have in store inside. The interiors again reminds you of the A class and
the GLA. That’s okay in a way. Aren’t siblings meant to resemble each other in
multifunction steering wheel in black leather with perforated grip area has
wheel gear shift paddles, just in case you want to push it hard on a lonely
road where cops are nowhere present. There is a fixed high-resolution 17.8 cm
colour display screen. The audio 20 CD Multimedia system churns out your
favourite numbers through the Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system. The driver’s seat as well as the passenger’s
seat is an electrically adjustable one with memory packages.
As soon as I
belted up and tweaked the key, the petrol engine fired up for the drive on the
roads that Indians are so used to. As I went over bumps, I realised that this
car has a decent ground clearance. It glided over obstacles without scraping
its underbelly. This car, I felt, had been specially made for India. I was
impressed. Mercedes-Benz had got its act so right for the country. The engine was
so perfectly mated to the 7-speed automatic transmission that speed and
acceleration came so naturally without any interruption. One can drive in any
of the modes: Economy, Sport or Manual.
4 cylinders Petrol
300 NM @
L x W x H
225/45 R 17
4630 x 1777
Rs 35 lakh
I tried the
different modes and felt that each had its own characteristics. The Eco
start/stop function made things more economical as it helped reduce fuel
consumption. In the few hours of drive, we encountered long stretches of empty
roads, and then had to face some crazy traffic at the end of it all. Good
roads, bumpy roads or crowded roads, the CLA dealt with each in its own way. The
suspension handled each terrain with considerable ease.
CLA 200 boasts of a large boot space, I noticed that the spare tyre is placed
in it. I found this slightly irksome because for your large suitcases to come
in, the spare tyre would have to make its way out. Unless of course there are
only two of you in the car and you have the luxury of folding your rear seats
to create more space in the boot area. Another feature I found practically
bothering was the little lever we are all so used to for opening the bonnet (in
malls, high security zones etc). In the case of the CLA 200, it’s a plastic
lever and one needs to really stretch your hand under the dash in the corner to
nudge it. For the few of us who have not being doing our daily stretches, this
could be a bit of strain on the belly muscles! But then these are not major
flaws. All in all, the CLA 200 is a good looking sedan priced so right! So is
it time for us ordinary folks to raise the bar in our next purchase? Maybe,
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